Claude Julien feels he is labored as laborious as he has at any level throughout his lengthy NHL profession for the previous month or so in his present position as coach of the Canadian Olympic males’s hockey group.

For the reason that NHL introduced it will not be going to February’s Beijing Olympics final month, Julien and his workers have been laborious at work attempting to piece collectively a roster to contend for gold.

Julien, who grew to become Canada’s coach after the NHL dropped out, stated a few of the Zoom calls with coaches and administration just lately have been so long as 4 or 5 hours. Hockey Canada must nail down a roster forward of a Jan. 24 deadline for the Canadian Olympic Committee to submit its full record of athletes to the IOC.

“It’s truly been fairly hectic to be sincere with you,” Julien stated on Actual Kyper and Bourne on Sportsnet 590 The Fan on Wednesday.

“We’ve gone by means of the choice (course of) right here and that’s been a tricky one since you get close to the top and there’s so many gamers which are most likely all close to the identical stage. So we’re attempting to finalize that and on the similar time you’ve acquired the preparation of it as properly.”

Canada received bronze with out NHLers on the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics, however that was a unique state of affairs because it was recognized properly forward of time gamers from the world’s prime league wouldn’t be obtainable.

Julien coached a nationwide group on the Channel One Cup in Russia final month and lots of gamers from that squad determine to get the decision for Beijing.

However there’ve been different developments since then — together with studies that Buffalo Sabres No. 1 decide and College of Michigan star Owen Power will be on the team, together with the potential of NHL veteran Eric Staal, who made his season debut with Iowa of the AHL final weekend.

“You bought some junior gamers on the world juniors in Edmonton that seemed actually good. We’ve been these guys as properly,” Julien stated. “We’re attempting to make the combination that mix of gamers that’s going to create the chance to have a very good hockey membership right here.”

Julien stated a camp for gamers on the roster will begin Jan. 25 in Switzerland — and the group will journey to Beijing from there. He stated an enormous a part of the problem is having gamers in line to play keep away from contracting COVID-19 earlier than going to Switzerland.

“It wasn’t I suppose clever for us to finalize our roster and announce it too early as a result of there’s at all times guys getting Omicron,” Julien stated. “On the similar time, there’s nonetheless some guys enjoying. Guys in Sweden, the league continues to be ongoing there, Germany, Switzerland … Which means there’s nonetheless COVID transferring round.”

Julien stated he’d be very concerned with one other alternative to educate within the NHL after being fired by the Montreal Canadiens final season. However he stated that is not his motivation for teaching this group.

“Let’s put it this fashion, I believe the very best factor for me was truly getting this break,” stated the 61-year-old native of Blind River, Ont., who additionally has coached the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins and was an assistant on the 2014 gold medal-winning Olympic group.

“I began teaching again in ’93 and we’re speaking about junior hockey and labored my method up. I do know there’s been lockouts and every thing else however I had by no means missed out or not labored for any hockey group since that day. This yr was the primary yr the place I had no strain, no anxiousness, nothing happening besides watching my children play minor hockey. It did me a whole lot of good. That’s why I’m very reenergized proper now.

“However I’m going to the Olympics to signify Canada and win a gold medal. I’m not going there to show myself and say ‘you realize what, I’d like a job within the NHL.’ My complete life has been about doing my job, doing it proper and hoping issues fall into place.”


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